Whole milk and full-fat dairy products have been in the news recently with high-profile media pieces in the Washington Post, Time.com and the “Dr. Oz Show” on the benefits of whole dairy products.
The most recent study shows an association between diets rich in full-fat dairy and lower risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, the study showed those who had the most dairy fat in their diets had an almost 50 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Another study showed those who drank whole milk had an 8 percent lower risk of being obese than those who drank low-fat milk. This new research builds upon research from 2015 that showed full-fat dairy foods may not be harmful, particularly in regards to heart health, and may actually provide some health benefits.
While the cause of these associations is unknown, it opens a world of possibility for research about dairy fats and further health benefits. Based on the current body of research, it is too early to make sweeping recommendations about choosing whole fat dairy for everyone. One thing that all of the researchers have agreed on is Americans need to stop choosing or avoiding foods based on theories about one nutrient.
In other words, rather than avoiding full-fat dairy because of an outdated theory about saturated fat being harmful, consumers are urged to look at the whole nutrient package of dairy foods and how those foods can enhance their health.
Lanier Dabruzzi, MS, RD, LD